Virginia had been finding the house cold for more than a while. There's an air-brick in the lounge (we had a back-boiler) which lets in ventilation from outside. The back-boiler had been needing attention more and more it seemed. So British Gas got booked up to come to do the boiler replacement (more expensive but you get what you pay for.) Tried to get more quotes but only one other company bothered to provide one.
The parts were delivered on Saturday ready for the Monday morning on which the gasman came to call. We had signed up for a new hot water cylinder as well as a new boiler, but the parts took up less space than I expected. The gas engineer turned up on the dot, and started checking out the territory, leaving the front door open as he popped in and out. A few minutes later we could only find one rather than two cats.
Not a good situation. We hunted through the house, no sign of Amelia who I still call a kitten even though she's now three years old. Both Virginia and I ranged around the nearby streets, calling out, no joy. I could see Amelia having fled out and hidden herself somewhere, way out of sight. What were we going to tell the breeder we had got Amelia from? That we had lost one of her kittens? In the end Virginia had to take Tabitha alone to the cattery while I manned base camp as the engineer worked away.
Happily I checked over the house again, and this time peering into the storage space inside the spare bed saw a head. Amelia had managed to squeeze herself in among the boxes inside the spare bed, where it seemed impossible to squeeze. Getting her into the carrier was a bit of a struggle, I had to almost pour her into it, relying on gravity to overcome a feline reluctance. As Virginia made a second trip to the cattery with the recaptured prisoner I got to work even later.
When I got back the house was swathed in dust covers, and complete with warning signs about enter at your own risk. But the new boiler was installed in the study cupboard (which I shall miss, I had quite some stuff stashed in there.) The new hot water cylinder had replaced the old one. The gas fire in the lounge was now just an ornament which is a shame, that was nice to have on when we were just in the lounge and didn't need to heat everywhere. But all seemed to be going to plan. Until midnight on Tuesday.
I came downstairs late on Tuesday to find water dripping through the lounge ceiling, and a sodden carpet. We did what we could but it was already too late. The lounge ceiling now has interesting yellow and brown smudges on it, the lounge carpet is even more stained than it was before. The gas engineer told us that an olive had given way when he had been putting in the new hot water cylinder.
I learnt later that an olive is a special ring of malleable metal which plumbers use to seal joints rather than soldering as it's quicker. The olive grips hard as it is tightened - but is prone to deforming and leaking later. At least British Gas said that their insurance should cover it - we wait and see.